Replacing a Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger? And Have the Model Number?

Replacing a Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger? Whether you’re dealing with an old TACO or Bell & Gossett unit, give us the model number and serial number to your heat exchanger and 9/10 times we can replace it!  If you’ve dealt with Shell & Tube Heat Exchangers in the past, you know that the shell portion of the Heat Exchanger can last 40+ years. You are also aware that the tubes and bundles usually cannot. When these bundles fail, the typical customer cannot wait 8-10 weeks for the OEM to get the requisite part manufactured and sent back. Capital Coil understands that quick turn-around time is essential, so we offer both 10 & 5 day shipments 12 months/year.Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger

There are 3 main types of shell & tube heat exchangers:

  • “U” Tube heat exchangers where it is possible to remove the entire bundle
  • Fixed tube heat exchangers where the tube sheet are welded to the shell and stationary and the bundle is not removable
  • Floating tube heat exchangers where one tube sheet is fixed and the other floats axially.  This tube bundle is also removable.

So what information do we require to get started on your replacement Heat Exchanger or Tubes & Bundles? As mentioned, if you have the model #, in most cases, we should be able to cross-reference that unit from our product library. Send that information to our sales department, and a member of our team will get back to you with a quote – simple as that.  In the rare cases when we cannot cross-reference your model number, we can provide blank drawings that specify what measurements we need and where they’re located on the unit.  Please see our product pages on REPLACEMENT TUBE BUNDLES and SHELL & TUBE HEAT EXCHANGERS for product specifications and blank product drawings.

Capital Coil has extensive expertise at replacing bundles and heat exchangers for emergency situations. We can easily get you information on performance, design and cost. Please give us a call for your next job. We look forward to working with on your next opportunity.

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How to make your HVAC OEM Replacement Coil Buying Process Easier??

Roughly 100% of HVAC OEM replacement coil shipments use some kind of trucking company or common carrier. There are occasions when the shipment is small enough to use UPS or FedEx, but the vast majority of HVAC shipments are sent by way of truck. Anyone who has frequently used freight companies has experienced damaged shipments and/or late arrivals. In our industry, these annoyances and inconveniences are typically written off as “the cost of doing business”. Think of the airline industry as an example. Our expectations have been reduced to point where we expect something to go wrong and are pleasantly surprised when the trip is smooth from start to finish.

Many folks might not know this, but even before the pandemic struck, the trucking industry in general had been experiencing a gross shortage of drivers throughout the country. Some estimates have put this shortage of drivers as high as 50,000 throughout the country.

So what does this shortage mean for the HVAC industry? Put simply, it translates into complications and confusion for all involved.

  • Longer delivery times. For example, a delivery that used to take (3) days is now (5-7).
  • One major reason for the longer delivery times is that trucks now have many more stops than in years past. There are also many instances of more trips through connecting terminals as well.
  • More time on the truck usually equates to both “visible” and “hidden” freight damage.
  • The shipments become harder to track, and with fewer people at the trucking companies doing more work, shipments can and will get lost entirely.

Because the freight process is at the very end of the OEM replacement coil buying cycle, Capital Coil & Air has developed some simple strategies for the entire buying process that should help in avoiding many of the annoyances listed above. We’ve also added a very useful “hint” to counter longer freight delivery times.

  • Getting a price, delivery & accurate proposal from your vendor: Capital Coil responds to every quote request quicker than any of our competitors, and we are always willing to put that claim to the test. A (2) day delay in receiving your quote is the same as a (2) day freight delay on the back end.
  • Receiving your submittal drawings in a timely fashion: You need to approve these drawings, so once again, how is a (2) day delay in receiving approval drawings any different than receiving your order (2) days late?
  • Quick-Ships: As you’ve probably experienced numerous times in the past and/or present, other coil manufacturers seem to be consistently shutting down their quick-ship programs with little to zero notice for the customer. Why is this? Many manufacturers take on a glut of OEM replacement coil business, or other large projects with small profit margins. In many cases they do this simply to keep the factory running during the slower periods of the year. This has the effect of delaying standard lead times, and in many cases, cancelling quick-ships altogether. It is very hard to do business with companies that make themselves unavailable when you need them the most.

Capital Coil NEVER shuts down our quick-ship programs, and we emphasize NEVER! Over the last (2) years, CCA has hit approximately 99% of all quick-ship orders.

  • Crating equipment to minimize freight damage.OEM Replacement Coil
  • Shipping on time: Simply put, we consistently ship when we say we’re going to ship.
  • Select a freight carrier that delivers to your area without interlining or stopping at several terminals: This is when freight damage is most likely to occur!
  • Pay the carrier fee for a guaranteed delivery date: Although seemingly not well-known, most carriers offer a guaranteed delivery date for a fee of $50-$100. Paying the fee will ensure that your order is now a “priority”, and most freight companies schedule deliveries based on these “priorities” first. If both your order and delivery are critical and time-sensitive, Capital Coil can help you with exploring these delivery options.

Capital Coil & Air will work with you throughout the entire buying and shipping process because you as the customer, deserve to work with a hands on manufacturer that will not turn its back on you once the order has been placed. Please give Capital Coil a try on your next project!

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OEM Replacement Coils: Repair or Replace???

When considering OEM replacement coils, there are multiple reasons why coils can fail prematurely. Sometimes, they simply freeze and can never be repaired. Other times, the coil was selected incorrectly, which in turn, made the coil significantly underperform. Many times, there is substantial corrosion or something else in the system that causes the coil to fail. However, most coils, when selected correctly, and in systems that are properly maintained, can last anywhere from 10-30 years!  10-30 years is also a pretty wide range, and there are many variables in how long you can expect a coil to perform. Factors, such as ongoing maintenance, air quality, and water/steam quality all have an effect on a coil’s lifespan.

OEM Replacement Coils

Reasons Why Coils Fail Of Old Age

  • While the coil’s tubes are considered the primary surface, 70% of all coil performance is performed by the finned area on a coil, which is known as the secondary surface. The fin/tube bond is easily the most important manufacturing feature in any coil. Without the bond between the tubes and fins, the coil could never properly function. Like all things however, over time the fin/tube bond becomes less efficient with constant expansion and contraction. While the construction of the coil, as well as the fin collars, does not allow the fins on the coil to move, that fin/tube bond naturally weakens a coil’s life over time after installation. Because of this, it is not a stretch to say that a coil is easily 30% less efficient after (20) years.
  • Cleaning coils often pushes dirt to the center of the coil, and this occurs even more so on wet cooling coils. Just remember that coils can become great air filters if not properly maintained. The BTU output of any coil is in direct proportion to the amount of air going through the coil. If you decrease the CFM by 20%, you are also decrease the BTU’s by 20%!
  • Cleaning agents often corrode aluminum fins. Since every square inch of fin surface matters in performance, corrosion of the fin surface is always detrimental to the coil’s performance.
  • Many times, there are coil leaks simply because of old age. No coils are immune to erosion. You might find the brazing in the tubes, as well as the brazing in the header/tube connections failing over time. Steam can be both erosive and corrosive under higher pressures. Water travels through the coil at 2 – 5 ft/second, so erosion is an enormous part of coil failure, regardless of how well-maintained. Erosion is always there, whether you realize it or not.
  • Water/steam treatment and the corrosive effects of bad steam/water can all be causes of coil failure…which then necessitates the need for a reliable manufacturer for OEM replacement coils.

So What Is The Solution?

Some coils can last 5 years, and some coils can last 30 years. As you have read, there are numerous factors that contribute to a coil’s life. In the end, there will most likely have been multiple attempts to repair that coil to make it last as long as possible. The depressing news is that most of these “Band-Aid” attempts do not work well. The most likely outcome is that you are buying a new coil anyway, so why waste the time and money on a temporary solution?

Coil failure is a “pressure event”, which is a fancy way of saying that a coil is leaking. We’ve listed some of the most common repair methods that you are likely to come across:

  • Drop leaking tubes from the circuit: Keep in mind however that every dropped tube reduces the coil’s performance by triple the surface area of the tube that is dropped. Again, while ok in the short-term, this is simply another “Band-Aid” fix. Over time, your energy costs will rise exponentially, and you will probably end up buying a new coil anyway.
  • Braze over the existing braze: As mentioned above, erosion has caused the original braze to fail, so all that you are really doing is pushing the pressure to another braze, which will then begin to fail as well.
  • High Pressure Cleaning: This method bends the fins, further restricts the airflow, and pushes dirt more to the center of the coil, which can never be adequately cleaned.

The real reason why coils need to be replaced rather than repaired is due to energy costs. If your coil is not operating near desired levels, you’ll need to increase the energy to make it work at its peak performance. Energy increases might be slight at first, but they are guaranteed to continue to rise over time. For example:

  • Somebody adjusts the fan drive for higher speeds, higher CFM’s and higher BTU’s.
  • Someone adjusts the boiler; the water and steam temperatures are higher.
  • Someone adjusts the chiller (1) degree higher for colder water to the chilled water coil.

Whichever method is used, performance begins to suffer and adjustments to the system occur. These adjustments cost energy efficiency and ultimately, money!

If you have ever experienced repairing a coil, then you know it is labor intensive and typically will not work as a permanent solution. With very few exceptions, repairs should be seen as nothing more than temporary until you’re able to replace that coil!

Capital Coil & Air has seen every “repair” method used, as well its inevitable outcome, so instead of putting yourself through that, call Capital Coil and allow us to be your coil replacement experts.

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